They Kill Because They Kill Because They...

Advances in psychiatric diagnoses as reported in Slate crack the Columbine mystery (see the subhed: "At last we know why the Columbine killers did it"). As it turns out, Columbine obsessive Dave Cullen explains, some experts who, as near as his reporting explains, never met or spoke to the "patients," have authoritatively diagnosed Eric Harris, the supposed leader of the duo, as a "psychopath."

And that, of course, explains everything. Because what is a psychopath? The type of person, consumed with contempt and lack of remorse or empathy, who would do what Eric Harris did (though, strangely enough, also clearly the type of person who almost never does what Eric Harris did).

Says Cullen:

Diagnosing Harris as a psychopath represents neither a legal defense, nor a moral excuse. But it illuminates a great deal about the thought process that drove him to mass murder.

Not really. I especially loved the portentous detail that the docs "share their conclusions publicly here for the first time." It's just an attempt to justify their phoney-baloney jobs by identifying moral qualities that Harris had, categorizing them with a quasi-medical term, and then claiming that the category somehow explains any more than did the qualities that led them to the "diagnosis" to begin with. The term "psychopath" tells us no more than the separate categories did, and leads us nowhere new--and indeed by its nature couldn't, since it is not diagnosable in any way other than by adding up those moral qualities. What these scientists Cullen quotes are doing is literary criticism, not medicine.

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  • ||

    In Hervey Cleckly's book on psychopaths, "The Mask of Sanity" he points out that psychopaths, while being without feelings for others, egocentric, manipulative and without conscience, rarely, if ever, commit violent crimes, being more inclined to scams and fraud.

  • ||

    Clearly Dr. Ochberg and Special Agent Fuselier deserve fellowships at the Lovenstein Institute.

  • ||

    Your denunciations of bad psychiatry would be a lot more credible if you had displayed the slightest capacity for distinguishing good psychiatry from bad.

    The obtuseness of your dismissal is so exaggerated as to be obviously deliberate.

  • ||

    On the Columbine anniversary posting a few stories below this one, "Mo" posted the link to this story. I said that I didn't buy it because it sounded too much like self-assurance: "Oooh, he's a psycho! No wonder! And no need to worry it'll happen at OUR happy school!"

    This reminds me of those post-World War Two documentaries explaining how Nazism came about because of some uniquely horrible traits in the German national psyche. (In other words, no need to worry it'll happen to normal folk like us!)

    Likewise, calling Harris a psycho is much easier than coming to grips with the possibility that there might be something about modern public schools that could push a young man over the edge.

  • ||

    Brian, what does critical thinking accomplish when emotions are at stake? Besides, if you'd bother to read the NY Times, you'd know that the guuuns made them do it.

  • ||

    Society made them do it, Jennifer?

    No, Harris and Klebold made themselves do it.

  • ||

    Joe-
    No, society didn't make them do it; ultimately they themselves were responsible. But, I daresay, they were severely goaded. Modern high schools are alienation factories. There is a reason why, after Columbine, so very many teenagers made statements along the lines of "Yeah, what they did was wrong, but I understand why they did it."

  • ||

    The story I await is why two armed police officers ran away as soon as they were fired at, leaving the shooters the freedom to attack the whole student body, and why the swat team waited until everyone was dead and cold before they made a move. I am even pissed that the NRA truncated their meeting.
    There were a whole bunch of official cowards around Columbine who did not earn the big bucks they drew for "to serve and to protect" and who were never called to account.

  • ||

    Jennifer, I completely understood why they felt like doing it - I felt like that myself regularly at their age.

    But they went ahead and did it. Most of us have something that keeps us from crossing that line. Harris didn't.

  • ||

    Joe-
    Adolescents aren't known for their ability to think clearly about the future. Maybe Harris had no reason to think tomorrow could possibly be better than today. Maybe Harris had an incredibly fucked-up home life; I remember reading that one of the killers' parents ignored the sawed-off shotguns in their son's bedroom. Maybe Harris was pushed harder than you were. Who knows?

  • Constantine||

    Walter, I believe it was armed security guards, not police officers who turned and ran.

    And, Brian, I'd like to hear some interesting comments about your dislike of the article rather than a ranting tirade signifying nothing. Was there anything there that you _actually_ disagreed with, or does the mere existence of the article rub you the wrong way?

  • ||

    The adolescents' supposed lack of foresight doesn't wash--witness their meticulous, if ultimately unsuccessful, plans to perpetrate violence far beyond a mere "school shooting." Harris and Klebold did the same thing for different reasons, and despite different personalities. Saying "the system" goaded them to do it is no more instructive than claiming Harris was a "psychopath."

  • ||

    The headline reminds me of the NPR's interview of a psychologist (I think) on the subject of Ted Kaczynski. The conclusion was that Kaczynski's sociological views were wrong, therefore he was insane Q.E.D.

    To this day, that interview defines for me what's wrong with NPR.

  • ||

    If you guys don't mind a bit of repetition, I would like to cut and paste something I wrote on the other Columbine post:



    A few of the rules at the school where I taught:

    *doors were removed from the bathroom stalls, to "prevent students from smoking cigarettes." Thus, adolescents who are already insecure about their bodies must undergo the daily humiliation of performing excretory acts in front of their peers.

    *I know of at least one occasion where the school bus was late, but those kids on the bus were marked tardy and suffered the after-school consequences.

    *students with bad grades lost their parking passes; even those students who did not live on a bus line and needed their cars to get to school. The theory was, I guess, that anyone with bad grades would find their grades improving by making it harder for them to get to school.

    *students were required to wear IDs at all times. This rule was instituted after Columbine, on the apparent theory that Harris and Klebold would not have been able to kill anyone if they carried a school-issued ID on them.

    And so forth. Frankly, I'd worry about the mental health of anyone who DIDN'T develop a bad attitude about this.

  • ||

    This DOES NOT justify what the killers did. But if you persist in treating people like criminal cattle, can you really be surprised if some of them rise to your expectations?

  • ||

    Except that if Harris had an additional year or two or ten to hone his bomb making skills we very well could be talking about 600 or 1,000 dead instead of 15. Take your pick.*

    *Though I do think his age and the soft target a school presents played a large factor in his decision to bomb the school. Harris at age 27 may not have had such easy access to hundreds or thousands of people.

  • ||

    But Dakota, several additional years might have eliminated the desire for that sort of violence.

    Other points:

    IIRC, an armed guard "engaged" the killers in a brief, inconclusive gunfight. The killers had the advantage of a carbine, and the guard may have expended most of his ammo.

    The police delayed engaging the killers in the school. I believe that several police entered the school early on, but were pulled back. Under the circumstances, a more aggressive police action MIGHT have been better, but I think buerocratic/legal considerations were at fault for the cautious approach, not lack of courage.

  • Ox||

    Another significant problem with most public schools is the wholesale alientation of certain subgroups by their betters. Not only is this behavior not stopped by administrators, it is often encouraged, consciously or subconsciously, through the Cult of the Popular most schools have become. What resonates with lots of kids is the ritualized torture that they endure, whether physical or psychological, from the subclasses upon which the school administration heaps praise. When I was in junior high, there was a group of guys who whipped me with willow branches if I didn't do their bidding - school administrators said that "boys will be boys" and I needed to "learn how to stand up for myself." Luckily, they grew up and quit. Later, in high school, a group of popular girls found great pleasure in pretending to be interested in a few of the geekier types. I thought they were so over the top it was laughable, but after a while it moved beyond silly to harrassing and demeaning. Not only did the school administrators not stop the behavior, but a couple of teachers actually encouraged it because they thought it was "funny." Frankly, I made out easy - one other guy actually thought one of them was serious, and bought her expensive presents before someone finally talked him out of it. This is on top of the more common abuse, like wedgies and swirlies. The school not only lets these thugs run rampant, but praises them - what would a public school be if not for jocks, cheerleaders and assorted hangers-on.

    Before he went off the deep end writing for Slashdot, Jon Katz wrote a number of pieces dealing with ritual abuse of other students, Voices from the Hellmouth. There's a reason these stories resonate, and there's little sign the public schools give enough of a damn to do anything about it. This is a problem even if Klebold and Harris weren't driven by hatred of their peers. One of the many reasons that my kids, who share some of the traits that got me in the abusers' sights, are in private school.

  • ||

    IIRC, part of more thorough definitions of psychopathy often focus on an inability to empathize with others or conceptualize their subjective perceptions and reactions, something that's generally agreed upon as a significant, stands-by-itself factor in understanding personality and behavior in contexts like autism. If Cullen and the experts mean to reflect something like that in their invocation of psychopathy, that might add some useful understanding to the situation, but I wholly agree that as written, the story doesn't seem to say anything substantive.

  • ||

    I read the Slate article, then Brian's post. I thought Brian was on to something at first then he went off the deep end with his claim that the psychologists were engaging in literary criticism. It has been a great achievement in last two or three decades that the psychiatric community has moved away from interpretive reading like Freud and Jung and into real science. "Psychopath" is not just a desciption of a person who engages in a certain behavior, it is a real description of a type of thinking exibited by some that is radically different from the way most people think. (Technically, it is an "Axis II diagnoses known as "Antisocial Personality Disorder".) A diagnoses of psychopathy is real science and tells us something important we need to know to understand what happened.

    But it is only a start. What Brian may have on to is that this does still not explain Columbine. How did Eric become a psychopath? And why did THIS psychopath commit mass murder when, as the story notes, most psychopaths do not become killers?

    So no, this article didn't explain anything. BUt that doesn't excuse Brian's know-nothing dismissal of real science. To some people, the weirdness of quantum theory and Einstein's theory of realtivity sound like mushy literary criticism. But the fact that you can't tell the difference doesn't mean there isn't one.

  • ||

    Decvanda-
    In most cases I don't think it's accurate to ask how one "becomes" a psychopath or sociopath, anymore than you can ask how one "becomes" female, or black.

    Some university--I disremember which--did a study on sociopaths in prison. When normal people watched sad or horrifying things certain parts of their brains started firing--the part that makes you say "Oh, that poor person! I feel saddened and/or horrified!" When sociopaths watched those same pieces, their brains did nothing. For whatever reason, the "empathy" and "conscience" parts of their brains just aren't there.

    Whether or not this describes Harris is something else, though.

  • ||

    Jennifer -
    1. Thank you for alluding to some of the real science behind the diagnosis. That was the sort of thing I was talking about.

    2. A person becomes female because they have no Y chomosome to convert their genitalia to masculine parts. A person becomes black because their genes instruct their skin to produce a certain type and quantity of melatonin. There is nothing wrong with being female or black. Being a psychopath is a major problem, at least for everyone other than the psychopath (including other psychopaths).

    3. Most studies I have read indicate that it seems to take BOTH brain damage to specific areas of the brain (usually inborn, but occasionally due to accident) AND a history of abuse to become a psychopath. Knowing these things can provide medical and social technology to identify, prevent, and someday in the far future treat, psychopathy.

    4. I admit that post-mortem diagnosis is far less than perfect. But is our only choice, unless we are content to just fetishize the mystery, as Jesse Walker does in the final paragraphs of his otherwise excellent article on the Columbine commentators.

  • ||

    Why does man kill? He kills for food. Frequently there must also be beverage.

    Woody Allen said that somewhere. The psychovore angle hasn't been explored adequately.

  • ||

    Decvanda-
    I certainly wasn't trying to compare being female to being a sociopath; I'm just saying that you're most likely born that way. Though certainly head trauma can "make" you a psychopath, by killing the empathy-centers in the brain.

    As I understand it (and I'll admit I've only read a few articles on this subject) sociopaths are born, or created from physical brain damage, not mental abuse. A TRUE sociopath has no empathy for anyone at all.

    Now, it is true that one can be raised to feel no empathy for certain TYPES of people, but that is not true sociopathy. Margaret Mead once pointed out that every society in history has a rule: "Thous shalt not kill human beings." However, for most of history "Human being" was defined as "me, my family and the other guys in my tribe." Anyone else is fair game, because killing them would not be considered murder.

    This explains, say, a virulent racist taught since birth to hate black people, who nonetheless is a kind and loving family man. A lot of members of the KKK (or Al-Qaeda) might act sociopathic toward their enemies but they are not really sociopaths, because they DO feel love and empathy toward SOME people, at least. Whether or not Harris did cannot be known.

  • garym||

    Back in 1964, a couple of psychiatrists publicly declared Barry Goldwater psychopathic for disagreeing with their politics. He won a libel judgment against them.

  • ||

    Jenifer-
    You are, I think, right that there is no evidence and it is extremely unlikely that a society will create a sociopath. The "nuture" part of the equation seems neccesary to come from the family - abuse and neglect, usually at early formative ages.

    A missing part of the studies I've read however, is whether or not the combination of specific brain damage and patterns of abuse and neglect are sufficient as well as necessary. That is, while every sociopath seems to have had both the brain damage and the abuse, are there people who have also had both the brain damage and the abuse, yet have shown compassion and empathy for others.

  • Jon Ihle||

    What's wrong with literary criticism?

  • ||

    Actually, it's not true that "every" sociopath has been abused; some had great families, but were just born without the necessary brain mechanism, it seems. However, I think more studies should be done into the possibility of "situational sociopathy."

    Take depression, for example. There's clinical depression, caused, apparently, by chemical imbalances in the brain; and then there is situational depression, where your brain chemistry is normal but you're depressed because life has been depressing as of late. Situational depression will disappear when your life improves; clinical depression will not.

    Might there not be something similar for sociopathy? I do not know; I merely toss out the suggestion. Certainly, there are a LOT of teenagers who could completely relate to the murderous rage of Harris and Klebold; yet once these teens leave high school and the daily abuse therein they turn out fine.

  • ||

    The word "Comprachicos" springs to mind.

  • ||

    Jennifer-
    I will have to investigate further our empirical disagreement over the necesity of abuse in the creation of a sociopath. My reading had indicated that "every" is accurate, but obviously this is MUCH harder to confrim than brain damage. To confirm brain damage, you just look at the brain. By the time the sociopath is identified, the abuse is decades in the past, and everyone involved has reason to hide it, except maybe the sociopath, who is an unreliable historian. If abuse can be confirmed in 80-90% of cases, the safe bet is the other 10-20% of families are lying. If abuse can only be confirmed in 60% or less of cases, then I would have to begin to conceed that maybe abuse is contributory, but not necessary. So far, every case I have read about has discovered at least rumors of abusive people in the sociopath's family, although admitedly rumors are hardly confirmation.

    Your speculations about situational sociopathy are interesting.

  • ||

    The argument behind Doherty's dismissal of psychology is remarkably similar to that behind creationists' dismissal of evolutionary biology. There are some questions remaining about the exact mechanisms involved, and the science can be used to argue against a concept that is near and dear to the deniers' hearts, so the entire school of thought is dismissed.

  • ||

    Decnavda-
    But no parent is perfect; there is the possibility that, once a child is determined to be a sociopath, any remembered imperfection is retroactively magnified in importance and remembered as abuse. The one time Miss Perfect Mom lost her temper and shouted "Shut up, dammit!" The one time Dad had too much to drink. Whatever. As you pointed out, it would be hard to prove something like that.

    Another possibility is that perhaps sociopathy is genetically passed on from parents to kids. Since a sociopathic parent is more likely to be abusive than a non-sociopathic one, this might explain any abusive-childhood links. Correlation, not causality.

    Maybe there are even levels of sociopathy, where some people can be complete sociopaths (no brain activity whatsoever in the empathy center) whereas other people can be slightly sociopathic (some activity there, but not a normal amount.) Two slightly sociopathic people meet and marry and produce a completely sociopathic child. I dunno-my postgraduate degree was in Medieval and Renaissance English Lit, not psychology.

  • ||

    Hmm, come to think of it, a semi-sociopathic mama might explain how Harris' mom could ignore stuff like sawed-off shotgun pieces on her boy's dresser. Or was that Klebold's mom? I don't remember.

  • ||

    Jennifer, the literature is uniformly supportive of there being "levels" of sociopathy. Think of a sleazy car salesman, who lies without compunction for fun and profit, but would never spill another person's blood. I've seen a line chart, with Gandhi at one end, the salesman in the middle, and serial killers at the other end.

  • ||

    Set aside the post-mortem Harris diagnosis for a moment.

    It's obvious that few read the Slate piece's sidebar (http://slate.msn.com/id/2099203/sidebar/2099208/) that addresses the myths that surround Columbine (this info from the FBI investigation not the psychologists). I'm not sure why it's only a sidebar... if it were properly documented it would be a much more compelling piece than the story it's embedded in. In short: Harris and Klebold didn't target minorities, were only distantly involved in the "Trench Coat Mafia", did not have specific "hit lists" as pertained to the shooting, did not target Christians, hated Marilyn Manson (who it is reported they loved), did not plan on hijacking a plane and crashing it into New York and most importantly WERE NOT OUTCASTS at their school. Stop looking for answers at the school... as the FBI lead investigator pointed out, the attack took place at the school because it was convenient, not because the killers had any more hatred of people at the school than in the rest of the world. If those decrying the school system would read the list of things Harris hated carefully they would find Tiger Woods, country music, mispronuncitation and remedial vocabulary on the list of "hates". Are we going to blame the PGA and those with low SAT verbal scores as well as the school environment?

    And back to the diagnosis. Everyone is a product of their environment which includes schools, peers, music, violent TV and videogames etc. Only an exceedingly miniscule percentage act out in the way Harris and Klebold did. Something prevents the rest of us from doing the same. I would venture that the fact the massacre occured argues for something missing in the psychological make-up of Harris and Klebold.

  • fyodor||

    Joe,

    "The obtuseness of your dismissal is so exaggerated as to be obviously deliberate."

    Deliberate, as opposed to what? Accidental? Sponataneous? What's wrong with being deliberate?

    RE Joe v. Jennifer,

    Let's draw a big fat line between causality and influence, okay? If Jennifer meant society made them do it, she's wrong, but I doubt she meant that. Potentially there's a ziliion factors that may have contributed to their actions beyond their own will to do it, and understanding them may shed light on how to avoid such an event in the future.

    That said, I think your theory Jennifer is almost as too convenient as the just-another-pycho dismissal. I know they're fictional characters, but if there's any reason private school attendees Holden Caulfield and Mick Travis (from the 1968 movie, If) strike a responsive chord, it's because we know that warehousing of adolescents is inevitably a demeaning experience to them with potentially dire and explosive results. Maybe there's things public schools do to exacerbate the situation and maybe Jennifer has some first-hand experience into this. But at the same time, maybe the bumper-stickers are right, shit happens.

  • fyodor||

    Kevin Van Horn,

    Good post. To be a semi devil's advocate, one could theoretically deduce factors that make violent acts more likely, such that even if a small number of people committed violent acts no matter what, you might be able to distinguish between conditions in which 1% of the people acted violently and conditions under which 5% did so (just to use random numbers as an example). If this were possible, it would be very useful info indeed. Then we could proceed to deciding which factors that play into said difference could or should be changed. It might not be possible to change some things, it might not be desirable to change others, despite their associated problems because there's more associated goods. And then comes the big question of all, who gets to decide? Heh-heh-heh....

    Luckily or unluckily, there's not likely much one can ever glean from one single and very exceptional example such as the Columbine shootings. Thus I agree with Jesse Walker on this one, Columbine theorizing is at least mostly and perhaps entirely a purely rhetorical exercise. Again, feces occurs....

  • fyodor||

    BTW, what does IIRC mean?

  • ||

    Joe-
    That makes perfect sense. Come to think of it, I am now remembering that I've read some articles suggesting that the super-bad corporate crooks--Enron et al--were sociopaths.

    Hee hee. THAT would be an interesting conundrum for free-market absolutist Libertarians: what is the acceptable Libertarian attitude toward a system rigged so that only sociopaths can achieve positions of power? In a parallel universe, perhaps Eric Harris is the corporate-raider God of Wall Street.

  • ||

    if i remember correctly.

    the only chord holden caufield ever struck with me was the piano string i wanted to wrap around his fat little rich boy's neck.

  • ||

    fyodor,

    if i recall correctly

    "we know that warehousing of adolescents is inevitably a demeaning experience to them with potentially dire and explosive results."

    What I gather from Jennifer is that there is widespread denial of such knowledge within school systems, which includes people who believe in the school system without actually working in it.

    Van Horn said "Everyone is a product of their environment which includes schools..." but Jen seems to express the opinion that people within school systems are adamant in denying that their precious system can ever be a negative influence; when a negative student is the product the blame always goes to, in Van Horn's words, "peers, music, violent TV and videogames etc."

  • ||

    One man's sociopath is another man's biker.

    -- Sonny Barger

  • ||

    Jennifer, maybe maybe maybe. But if Harris fit the profile of a psycopath so exactly, point by point, then why is that diagnosis so much less legitimate than those you suggest?

    fyodor, it's not his deliberateness that bothers me, it's his obtuseness. A forgiveable fault, except when done on purpose.

  • ||

    I'm willing to blame Hillary Clinton completely. I'm not sure how to justify it, but I'll place the blame there until I can figure out a really good logical connection.

  • ||

    I know why they did it - it's that pesky theory of evolution...

  • ||

    Brian's comment can't be any more obtuse than the final sentence of the Slate column: His [Harris']death at Columbine may have stopped him from doing something even worse.

    Nice. Makes the deaths of the victims sound like dutiful sacrifice!

  • ||

    Jason Ligon -
    Explainations are not necessarily excuses. Even psychiatric ones. Some are, but not all, or even most.

    You are wrong about the "psychopath" diagnosis. It is not a catch-all. It has a very specific meaning relating to empathy. (The relationship is that a psychopath has none.) All psychopaths have at least one of three or four specific Axis II Personality Disorders, although most PD's are not psychopaths. All Antisocials are psychopaths by deffinition, and most Narcisists and Hystrionics are as well. Whether or not Parinoids and Sadists are psychopaths is a tricky question, since they tend to have different sorts of what might be called "negative empathy" toward most people. People who have any of the other PD's are not psychopaths, unless they are co-diagnosed with one of the above. People who work with PD's consider them real and neccesary to understand to work with these people, but they are not an "excuse" for anything. Indead, one of the top researcher in the PD area that I attended a professional training with suggested that the appropriate way to deal with persons with Antisocial PD is to either use whatever leverage you can against them, or avoid them completely. This is, oddly, "respectful" of their world-view.

    Jennifer - all meritocratic systems are wired to reward people with personality disorders. Utopian perfect bueracracies reward Obsesives (people with Obsesive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, very different from Axis I Obsesive-Compulsive Disorder). Free-Market Corporate Capitalism rewards Obsesives and Naricists. Military dictatorships reward Obsesives, Narcisists, Paranoids, and Antisocials. Fame rewards Narcists and Hystrionics. Systems that make ecconomically viable activities illegal, thus producing organized crime syndicates, reward Narcisists and Anitsocials.

  • ||

    Decnavda;

    I don't know if anyone is still reading this, but the psychiatry I have encountered deals with "severe" PDs and mental illnesses like bi-polar disorder in exactly the same way. Medicate, medicate, medicate.

    With medicine, one is Treated, and all is well. These folks are treated like children. The Untreated are not well, and they are treated like animals.

    Just my ground level observation from watching one person go through this over and over again.

  • Justin Slotman||

    I'm with joe--REASON has always taken this Szasz-driven anti-psychiatry line which tends to insist mental illness does not exist. It's my least favorite part of one of my favorite magazines.

  • ||

    I don't think there is a problem with studying mental illness or behavioral disorders, and I don't think Szaz has a problem with it either.

    The real issue is that a diagnosis of 'psychopath' is not remotely issued with the same level of confidence as a diagnosis of 'influenza', not least because the disorder is intentionally broadly defined so that it can be used as a catch-all for difficult cases. The crime is that we act as though a mental illness removes volition from its victim, when the reality is that mentally ill people make rational, self interested decisions all the time. Once we strip people of their volition, we not only strip them of accountability, we strip them of human status. In cases like Columbine, this is just a convenience for us. Monsters act like that, not humans.

    Having to deal with a significant case of bi-polar disorder in my own family, Szaz makes more sense to me than those who spend all their time trying to hit on exactly the right cocktail and repeat the mantra, "She can't help it, she is just sick." Being very personal here, that analysis doesn't jive with my experience.

  • ||

    "seen a line chart, with Gandhi at one end, the salesman in the middle, and serial killers at the other end."

    We are to presume that Ghandi didn't lie in his own self interest? I just don't understand what descriptive power this notion has. By this reasoning, we are all sociopaths of varying degrees. Haven't we just deferred the question to, Why wasn't Klebold closer to Ghandi than the a serial killer on the Sociopathometer?

  • ||

    Jason, "Gandhi" is the correct spelling.

  • ||

    orthographer:

    I always muck that up ...

  • Justin Slotman||

    Jason, I basically agree with you; saying "She can't help it, she is just sick" doesn't help anyone. But this is an argument for reforming psychiatric care, not getting rid of it as a medical profession which (I think) what Szasz wants.

  • ||

    JL,

    While the pop culture version of psychology may assume that mental illness removes all volition, the actual discipline itself does not make any such claim.

    And while the exact mechanisms by which psychological disorders come into being are not yet understood, the same can be said of evolutionary biology.

    Egyptian astronomers didn't understand why the stars moved in the predictable patterns they observed. But their observations were spot on.

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